Nathan Hansen's column: Now, if a sharknado broke bad..,
A new fall television lurched to a start late last month. It’s a pretty big deal. The fall is when networks roll out all of the new sitcoms they will unceremoniously cancel in two weeks and replace with reruns of Two and a Half Men.
So, pretty exciting, right?
This year features an interesting crop of new shows. There’s a series that features a character from the Avengers, because people really liked that Avengers movie. There’s a show with a time-traveling Ichabod Crane fighting a time-traveling Headless Horseman who might also be one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Because apparently someone, somewhere said, “Washington Irving’s story is pretty good and all, but what if we gave the Horseman a machine gun?” And there is a new show featuring Robin Williams that I can almost guarantee started with an outline that read, “Step one: Hire Robin Williams. Step two: TV show!”
I was going to suggest that step three was, “Hey, what’s that Two and a Half Men rerun?” But then the Robin Williams show became one of the most popular of the new season. Because apparently people don’t get enough high-pitched screeching on all of those Real Housewives shows.
There are also probably some shows about dopey guys with improbably attractive and somewhat unpleasant wives on the schedule this fall. Because there are always sitcoms about dopey guys with attractive wives. I think it’s an FCC rule or something. Some-where between the one about ending seasons with a wedding and the one about not allowing Janet Jackson on TV anymore.
This is an interesting time for traditional television networks and even for less-traditional networks like HBO and AMC, which used to stand for American Movie Classics and now stands for, “No, we promise you’ll like this show just as much as Breaking Bad.”
House of Cards, a series produced by Internet-based Netflix, recently won the first major Emmy given to an Internet-only show. And while some would argue the recognition does little to make up for earlier snubs of Internet pioneers like Cat Riding a Roomba and Charlie Bit Me, it could be a sign of things to come.
Consider that the series finale of Breaking Bad, which seemed to be all anyone could talk about on Twitter last week, drew a little more than 10 million viewers. Some have called that audience historic, but the series finale of MASH was watched by a little more than 10 times that many people. All of which makes stories about Breaking Bad’s record-setting audience a bit confusing. So far as I can tell, the only record it broke was for “number of people watching Breaking Bad.” Which is a little like me running around the block and writing an entire column about my record-setting run. And that would be ridic … actually, hold on. I have to write down an idea for next week’s paper.
The way people watch TV is changing. With streaming services like Netflix and with full seasons available on DVD, there’s a whole new list of ways we can get our entertainment delivered to us. We can skip entire seasons and then watch a dozen episodes in a row while huddled on the couch living on Twizzlers and Coca-Cola.
(Speaking of which, while 10 million other Americans were wrapping up their Breaking Bad experience, I was finally getting around to the finale of the third season. If you could hold off on discussing Sunday’s episode for the next several months, I’d sure appreciate it.)
It’s hard to know what the future might hold. These new delivery methods might spur new creativity and lead to a kind of Golden Age of entertainment. They might open the doors for entire networks devoted to Sharknado movies. It could be anything.
With all of this uncertainty, there’s really only one thing we can know for sure: Whatever happens there will always be dumpy guys with hot wives. Even if they’re only there to get eaten by the Sharknado.